Less is Enough Hero #2
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Tim Berner-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
I’ve admired Tim Berners-Lee for many years, and loved this quote when I first read it, and am putting him up here in my Hall of Fame to make myself feel better about the fact that I managed to come up with a project that was hugely disruptive to my life, enormously useful to other people, and garnered great deal of publicity and public interest while generating virtually no income for me. (Some of which is my own fault because I’m philosopically opposed to pervasive advertising … that’s what I get for sticking to my values and not plastering my blog with ads.)
Emphasis (italicized text) in the quote is mine.
“People have sometimes asked me whether I am upset that I have not made a lot of money from the Web. In fact, I made some quite conscious decisions about which way to take my life. These I would not change—though I am making no comment on what I might do in the future.
What does distress me, though, is how important a question it seems to be to some. This happens mostly in America, not Europe.
What is maddening is the terrible notion that a person’s value depends on how important and financially successful they are, and that that is measured in terms of money. That suggests disrespect for the researchers across the globe developing ideas for the next leaps in science and technology. Core in my upbringing was a value system that put monetary gain well in its place, behind things like doing what I really want to do.
To use net worth as a criterion by which to judge people is to set our children’s sights on cash rather than on things that will actually make them happy.”